Mbeubeus – Waste Management in Urban Dakar

This is Mbeubeus, a dried up lake bed covering 2 square kms that has served as Dakar’s main trash receptacle for nearly four decades (since 1968). While records concerning the site are estimates at best, studies surmise as much as 250,000 tons of garbage come from the Dakar region every year to this location; a lake bed, now a growing mound of refuse.

Honest Impressions

There is an overwhelming fog, a heavy, thick smoke that escapes from the cracks and crevasses of the mounds of garbage and rises slowly from the uneven landscape. One’s breathing becomes labored as the smoke thickens and obscures any scenery beyond this endless sea of filth- the terrible by-product of a society ill prepared for massive urbanization and colonially forced into consumerism.

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Photo Cred- Michael Maltese 

Now and again, an expanse of refuse grabs the eye, a mélange of vibrant plastic bottles and multi-colored aluminum cans paint a beautiful, albeit, unconventional portrait.

But the fires are relentless. They are neither large nor threatening, but slowly meander across the landscape of putrescence, leaving darkened black soot, void of color, in their wake.

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Photo Cred- Michael Maltese

An odor only generations of burning detritus and yesterday’s – and last year’s- food waste can create captures one’s senses.

This is Mbeubeus, a dried…

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